It is 1951 and America is in the middle of yet another war far away from home. Healthy, young men are once again being drafted and dying in Korea and the only way to avoid getting shipped off is if you are in college. 19-year-old Marcus Messner (Logan Lerman) is an intelligent and hard-working Jew who also happens to be an atheist, which is a bit of a problem when it is his Jewish community that provided him with the scholarship to attend university.
Based on the 2008 novel by Philip Roth, Indignation follows Marcus’ freshman year at college, far away from home and determined to lay low, avoiding distractions, until he meets the mysterious and beautiful Olivia Hutton (Sarah Gadon) in class. A child of divorce, she seems to be completely out of his league – she is classy and experienced (in more ways than Marcus is prepared for) while he is polite and shy. Despite their outward appearance, Marcus and Olivia are drawn inexplicably to each other.
One thing Marcus is not shy about is his atheism. Though he does not publicly advertise this fact, he spurns the courtship of the Jewish fraternity on campus, and, in a spectacular 16-minute confrontation with the college dean, Caudwell (Tracy Letts), he articulately quotes Nobel Prize-winner Bertrand Russell in his objection to the compulsory attendance of chapel in order to graduate.
In a market filled with explosive and violent blockbusters, Indignation is a breath of fresh air. Star Logan Lerman continues to prove his versatility in his choice of projects that range from the Percy Jackson series, to Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fury and Noah. Lerman is in virtually every scene with copious amounts of dialogue and emotions and he never fails to deliver. He also serves as an Executive Producer in this film.
Sarah Gadon similarly gives us an Olivia who is simultaneously sensual and shy, revealing casually to Marcus secrets that she knows only he can understand. Tracy Letts (renowned playwright and actor – more recently in his adaptation of August: Osage County) is just a little scary as the righteous college dean who refuses to accept Marcus’ indignant stance.
Directed and adapted for the screen by James Schamus, Indignation opens across Australia in limited cinemas on August 18th.